Annual free Thanksgiving at Chronis more than a meal
Chuck Chronis winds his way through the tables inside Chronis’ Restaurant and Lounge in downtown Vancouver and checks to see whether his guests at the restaurant’s annual free Thanksgiving feed are satisfied.“How is it, girls?” he asked two women at a table.Realizing he was the organizer of the event, one of the women started crying.“It looks like you need a hug,” Chronis said before embracing her.“You are to be commended,” the woman said.“This is all about you,” Chronis said. “I hope you have a brighter day.”The woman, Jan, who declined to give her last name, used to spend Thanksgiving with her husband, but he died last year at age 78.“I have known about this event for years,” she said. “This is the first time I came. I was alone, and I just decided, hey, I’d like to come. It sounded wonderful, but I never expected such a wonderful meal.”While the event serves up hot meals at no charge, it also fills an emotional need for some guests, who just need to see a familiar face and a gesture of kindness to get through the holiday.Irene Yakushiji of Vancouver said she lost her mother, husband and mother-in-law in the past year. She, her father, Thomas Yakushiji, and her sister, Florence Arney, thought spending Thanksgiving at Chronis’ might help lift their spirits and help them make new “family” with members of their community.